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The History of NAHT

The National Association of Head Teachers was established on 27th March, 1897, at a conference held at the Clarendon Street Schools, Nottingham.

Described by the first Secretary, Mr J Edwards, as being a, "...most representative and influential conference.", it was there that the objects of the NAHT were agreed. These objects, originally adopted for the National Federation of Head Teachers' Associations (which was the name first given to the NAHT), are reflected today in the objects contained within the Association's Constitution:

"The objects of the NAHT shall be:
  • to provide a ready means of communication for all members, to ascertain and give expression to their opinions and to take action when necessary on their behalf;
  • to render help to all members in cases of professional difficulty;
  • to further the cause of Education generally;
  • to uphold a high standard of professional conduct among members, including equal opportunities for all;
  • to regulate relations between members and their employers."
The past 100 years

After the first full year of the Association's life there were 12 affiliated local associations and 1,477 members. By the time of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the NAHT, membership had just broken through the 10,000 barrier with 210 affiliated local associations. By the 1980s, the passage of time had seen affiliated local associations rise to well over 350 and membership of serving headteachers exceeded 20,000.

Admission of Deputy Headteachers

Deputy headteachers were first admitted into membership in 1985 and since that year the numbers joining have increased steadily, as has their participation in the Association's activities.

Admission of Assistant Headteachers

At the Annual Conference 2000, delegates decided to invite Assistant Headteachers into membership. Members of this leadership group, vital to the effective management of the school, are warmly welcomed. We offer specific support for them and provide advice documentation written with their particular interests and responsibilities in mind.

With over a hundred years service to leaders in education, the NAHT now represents in excess of 27,000 school leaders, representing the education continuum 3-19 years.


At the heart of the National Association of Head Teachers' professional services to members is the dedicated staff working centrally at Headquarters and in the field as Regional Officers, linked to the network of local associations and branches within the NAHT's regional and district structure